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LOWLY the night is falling,
Falling down from the hill,
And all in the low green valley
The dew lies heavy and chill;
The crickets cry in the hedges,
And the bats are circling low,
And like ghosts through the blossoming garden
The glimmering night-moths go.
Hand in hand through the twilight
Come the children every one,
Flushed with their eager frolic,
Tawny with wind and sun;
Home from the sunny uplands
Where the sweet wild berries grow,
Home from the tangled thickets
Where the nuts are ripening slow.
They mock at the owl's weird laughter
And the cricket's lonesome cry,
At the tardy swallows flying
Late through the darkening sky; And silently gliding after,
Through the dusk of the shadowy street, Comes their little angel sister,
Star white from her head to her feet
Never crossing the threshold,
Come they early or late;
With her empty hands on her bosom,
She stops at the cottage gate.
I stretch out my arms in longing,
But she fades from my aching sight,
As a little white cloud at morning
Vanishes into the light.
And spite of the shining garments
Folded about her now,
And spite of the deathless beauty
Crowning her lip and brow,
I wish for one passionate moment
She sat on my knee again;
On her feet, so spotless and tender,
The dust and the earthly stain.
For missing her morning and evening,
The bitterest thought must be
That safe with her blessed kindred
The child hath no need of me;
And counting her heavenly birthdays,
I say in my jealous care:
“The babe that lay on my bosom
Hath grown to a maiden fair;
“And now if out of the glory
Her face like a star should shine,
Could I guess the beautiful changeling
Had ever on earth been mine?
I should veil my eyes at her splendor,
But never forget my
For the clinging hands of my baby,
And the mouth that kissed me back.”
E all have waking visions—I have mine,
And being young, and fanciful, and counted fai
I sometimes dream of love.
And sitting all alone, and musing still,
While yet the firelight flickers dim,
I ask myself if I should learn to love,
If my still heart could wake to life,
How would I love, and how would I be loved;-
I would be loved in calmness—
Trusted and not feared.
I do not ask that he be proud and cold,
But calm, and grave, and very strong-
A King, like Saul, among the sons of men,
And kinglier o'er himself.
He must not tremble at my slightest frown
Nor shudder if another meets my eye;
I would not rule, nor yet would I be ruled;
I scorn the tyrant as I scorn his sla
There is a love of sweet equality,
The love God gave and smiled upon, -
For it was very good.
He whom I love must be my king,
But I must be his queen;
And he should yield me, as my tribute due,
The reverence I had earned,
Not only by my womanhood, but by all gentleness,
Long-suffering, the patient sweetness,
Only love can teach;
For looking on me he should feel and know
That peace and rest which follow after toil.
I do not ask for him the world's applause,
His deeds the annals of a nation's pride,
His name upon the lips of men;
But I must feel his power-
Must know he could be what earth's heroes are---
I could not love him were he not thus great.
His hand must be both safe and strong;
As hand to shield, to trust, to lay my own within,
To stake my life upon;
A hand that might have fought with Hercules,
Yet would not harm the worm in his path,
For tho’ the heart of woman loveth oft
A thing she doth unwillingly despise,
It is a pitiful, imperfect love that hath not
For its corner-stone the rock of Faith.
His heart must be most tender and most true-.
A heart that loves, and pities, and befriends
Earth's suffering children, whether high,
Or yet among the lowly and the poor,
And he must love me perfectly.
If I should ever meet this man,
While he bent down to kiss my shining hair,
Or smooth its clusters from their clinging rest,
A sweet unspoken language in his touch
Would lift my bright eyes to the light of his;